Friday, February 25, 2011

Netiquette Basics

I found this on Cafemom, and wish more people would follow these "rules". It would make everyone's online experience so much better.

Netiquette Basics

There is eating etiquette, dating etiquette, phone etiquette and even golf etiquette. In recent years, a new kind of etiquette guides online social rules. It’s called Internet etiquette, or “netiquette”.

Just as it is wise to learn the social norms before traveling to another country, it is also a good idea to learn the underlying social rules of cyberspace before embarking on your journey through the World Wide Web.

According to author and netiquette specialist, Virginia Shea, there are 10 core rules of netiquette:
Remember the human

Behind every email address and screen name there is person with ideas, beliefs, imperfections and feelings. Sometimes it’s easy to shoot a rude or demeaning remark through cyberspace. Once you click the send button there is no taking it back, and unlike spoken words, written words are recorded.

A couple good rules of thumb before sending your opinion are: One—before clicking send, ask yourself, “would I say this to this person’s face?” And two—don’t shoot from the hip. In other words, take some time and think about what you’re typing, don’t let your emotions rule your words and choose your words carefully.
Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

While online, people tend to feel shielded. We sit behind a computer and interact with other people and businesses we will never see or meet. It might be easy to download music or software illegally or participate in other illegal activity because no one will know.

If it’s illegal, it isn’t good netiquette. Apply real–life ethics to online situations.
Know where you are in cyberspace

The rules of netiquette often change depending on which forum you are participating in or whom you are chatting with. Before adding your two cents, read some of the other comments in the forum so you know what is and isn’t appropriate. This also applies to chat rooms and other interest specific groups.

Also, be aware of other’s ideas and morals before sending them an email. Don’t assume they hare similar beliefs, political views, standards or other ideas. What is an appropriate email for one person may not be for another.
Respect other people’s time and bandwidth

Don’t email large or unnecessary files without getting the person’s permission. These may include images or video jokes. It’s not funny to tie up someone’s computer for ten minutes while a video clip joke downloads.
Make yourself look good online

Check your emails and other messages for spelling and grammar errors. If it’s a really important message, have someone else read it before sending it.

Avoid racial and other demeaning terms that refer to someone’s race, sex, sexual orientation or religion. According to Shea, swearing on the Internet is acceptable “only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form.”
Share expert knowledge

If you have advice or information that could benefit someone else, share it. You have nothing to lose. If you share information as being factual, research your facts.
Help keep flame wars under control

Flaming someone is sharing your opinion without tact and sometimes even attacking someone personally. Though netiquette doesn’t forbid flaming, constant flaming between participants in a chatroom or forum isn’t necessary. Once your opinion is expressed, let it rest.
Respect other people’s privacy

Don’t post personal information about someone without their consent. If you’re sending an email to a group of people and some members of the group may not want their email addresses disclosed to other members, use the blind carbon copy (Bcc) option.

Furthermore, don’t read other’s emails or rummage through their personal files.
Don’t abuse your power

Online there are some situations where one person has more power than someone else, such as system administrators, forum moderators and experts. Don’t use your position or knowledge to take advantage of or belittle others.
Be forgiving of other people’s mistakes

Internet users are people and people are imperfect. Before getting irate because of an inaccurate posting or a mistake on someone’s website, ask them nicely to change or remove it. Most mistakes are unintentional and the person will be glad you brought it to their attention.

By following these simple rules, your Internet experience will be more enjoyable and profitable. For more information on netiquette, see

Shea, Virginia The core rules of netiquette. Retrieved October 17, 2006, from Netiquette Web site:

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